The 2012 season was the first full time season for Danica Patrick and it looks like it may have paid off.
As her first full season in NASCAR comes to an end, Patrick managed to reach a career milestone as well as NASCAR history. The former IndyCar driver in her first full NASCAR season accomplished a feature that hasn’t been broken since 1949.
Upon capturing a 13th place finish in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series finale, Patrcik finished within the top 10 in the point standings. With a top ten finish in points Patrick breaks the record for best female finish in the point standings in any of NASCAR’s series. The previous record held by Sara Christian was a 13th place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, a record that has been around for 63 years.
The 2012 season gave Patrick the opportunity to get herself into the NASCAR history books. In just this season Patrick led for the most laps led by a female driver in Montreal for about 20 laps. She also holds the record for the most career laps led in a NASCAR national series by a female driver with 56 total laps. In just the first qualifying session of the season for the Nationwide Series Patrick won the pole.
With the pole win at Daytona Patrick joined Shawna Robinson as the only two females to win a pole in a NASCAR national series.
Prior to her first full season Patrick captured the highest-finishing position in a NASCAR National Series by a female driver with a fourth place finish in Las Vegas in 2011, a record previously held by Jennifer Jo Cobb with a sixth place finish in the trucks opener at Daytona that same year.
As her first full season in the Nationwide Series comes to an end, Patrick will prepare herself for the move to the Cup Series full time in 2013. Time will only tell what she will be able to accomplish in the cup series once she goes full time.